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March 10, 2018
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March 10, 2018

Abstinence isn’t a bad word

Our country is going green. This is great news! Many parts of the country now have recycling bins encouraging us to be more conscious of respecting our environment by not over-cluttering our solid waste disposal areas.

This is not just important for us but for fish and birds, as can be seen on YouTube videos of these animals eating plastic waste and dying. The ‘Green Thumb’ column that the Catholic News has just begun, even though its focus is sustainability, also speaks to how societal trends have gone, which is ‘natural’! More and more of us want to be able to sustain ourselves by natural means, ploughing the land, using water culture systems, etc.

It is not only the physical environment that needs remedial work but also the human body in relation to fertility and planning of the family. Consider the Billings Ovulation Method.

Billings is an approach developed by Dr John Billings while “investigating the perceived failures of the Rhythm Method” (The Billings Method, Drs Evelyn Billings and Ann Westmore, p xiii). Billings is a natural eco-friendly approach to fertility that has been scientifically tested.

It recognises the female cervical mucus as the indicator of fertility and infertility and the role it plays in the selection, survival and transport of the male sperm. The Billings Method is effective once the guidelines are followed and the couple is instructed in its use by a trained teacher.

The Billings Method allows the female to become conscious of her body’s natural way of operating pre- and post-menstrual phase of her cycle through charting and observing her bodily signs such as the nature of her vaginal discharge. Simple observation, nothing strange such as touching the discharge, is needed. She just pays attention to the sensation and appearance of any discharge that comes to the external part of her reproductive system.

Why not go green or natural with the very basic way we bring life into this world? Some may snicker at this question, but we should really take a step back to see what was “natural” with sexual intercourse has become unnatural. Devices and pills have become commonplace; the convenience of their use has spoiled us.

It appears to be very difficult to pay attention to signs of fertility and infertility when one can easily pop a pill or have a one-time procedure take care of that pesky body function called fertility or our baby-making potential.

Lent is a good time to go green. Abstinence is not a bad word. Abstinence can be an immense sign of love for one’s spouse. As Dr John Billings puts it in his book The Gift of Life and Love, p 17, “The physical union between husband and wife is a loving, joyful expression of their giving themselves to one another as long as they live. This love will find expression in many other ways because love should constantly be expressed and demonstrated, and there will be times when sexual union is not possible. There are times when it is abstinence from sexual union which is the demonstration of love. And they look forward to the day, after temporary separation by death (abstinence), when they will join their hands again in the peace of Heaven (the spousal embrace).”

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